Date: Apr 15, 2007 11:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Fathom & TP] Fathom as a statistics program
We certainly did not design Fathom with the statistical practitioner
in mind; rather, we designed it for teachers and students for use in
teaching/learning settings. Lack of built in facility for logistic
regression, multi-way ANOVA, a multitude of non-parametric tests, and
a host of other capabilities built into commercial statistical
packages make Fathom a poor choice for someone doing statistics on a
On the other hand, we think that the commercial statistical packages
don't serve the learning environment well at all. The plethora of
options and output easily overwhelm students (and many teachers) so
that the focus turns to following the steps rather than understanding
the statistical inference process.
Have you shown Fathom's simulation capabilities to the prof? Consider
a setting in which you have a sample of men's and women's incomes
(perhaps using census microdata), and you want to do a test of
significance of the difference of median incomes for the two groups.
How would you do that in a commercial package? But in Fathom it's
easy to do through scrambling and collecting measures. And each time
the learner does this kind of simulation they get a hit of the
fundamental structure of statistical inference, the part that runs
constant through all the myriad of procedures.
There are surprising settings in which Fathom is being used outside
the classroom. The environmental protection agency for the state of
California has a site license for its field workers. Tim Erickson has
done a series of workshops for a big pharmaceutical company. Many
school administrators are using Fathom to explore school data. In
these settings I think it is Fathom's ease of use for exploring data
that attracts people to it, rather than statistical tests and estimates.
Does the prof think that commercial statistics packages have a place
in algebra courses? Wouldn't he be in favor of more data appearing in
mathematics classes? Show him some of the modeling activities that
might be used in algebra.
On Apr 13, 2007, at 6:57 PM, Corey Andreasen wrote:
> I've had several conversations with a stat prof out east who has
> little experience with Fathom. He isn't convinced, by what he has
> seen, that Fathom is anything more than a glorified graphing
> calculator. Good for teaching basic concepts, but it certainly isn't
> a program one would use for DOING statistics. He points to an
> inability to do logistic regression as one example of this.
> When I see him this summer, what do you think I could show him that
> would convince him otherwise? Any thoughts?
> To unsubscribe, send mail to
> In the body of the message, use the following command:
> unsubscribe fathomtp
> To reach the (actual, human) owner of the list, send your message to: